CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Nov. 8, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, battled a tight race car en route to a 19th place finish in the Checker Auto Parts/Dura Lube 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Phoenix ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Nov. 8, 2000) - Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, battled a tight race car en route to a 19th place finish in the Checker Auto Parts/Dura Lube 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Phoenix International Raceway.
"We started the race with a slight push," said Wallace, who qualified seventh for the affair. "We were tight coming off the corners, especially in turn four. Once the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevy loosened up, it would fall into a four-wheel drift. We were fortunate to qualify in the top-10 on Friday or we would've lost a lap or two during the race."
If you were to look in the Square D Racing Team's notebook under the section of Homestead-Miami Speedway, you may not find much information. Then again, few NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams know much about the 1.5-mile oval. If there is one thing that Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, can predict for Sunday's Pennzoil 400, it's to expect the unexpected.
"We can't compare Homestead to any other track in the series," said Wallace. "It's a big 1.5-mile race track. The speedway is very wide with long sweeping corners, and you're in those turns forever. Last season, it took teams most of their practice time to figure out the race track since it was the first time anyone had seen its new configuration. Homestead requires a different type of setup than most race tracks and we're prepared to use some weird ones this weekend."
"We've only been to Homestead once," added crew chief Jimmy Elledge. "We've never tested at that race track. Even though we did have some success in last year's race, we still have a lot to learn. The speedway is it's own entity. You don't need a lot of brake entering the corners, so therefore, a loose end isn't a big issue at Homestead. You can do a lot of things to make the race car turn and it won't hurt you on entry, but you also must focus on drag to increase the race car's speed in the straightaways. The bottom line - it's a real smooth race track."
One would think that racing teams who used a valuable NASCAR Winston Cup testing date at the "smooth" race track would have an advantage over those who spent their dates elsewhere. Not true, says Elledge. According to the second-year crew chief, the results from last year's inaugural race at Homestead-Miami Speedway say otherwise.
"Teams that tested at Homestead last season didn't necessarily perform well in last year's race," said Elledge. "We went there blind and outperformed those teams who did test. I don't know if any team has an advantage at this track. I just think certain drivers have a knack for flat tracks, and Kenny is one of those drivers. He's tough on that type of track whether it's a one-mile oval or a two-mile superspeedway."
"I love going to new places," said Wallace. "It's definitely fun. I seem to do pretty well at those venues because I'm a great driver (laughs). Since Homestead is relatively new to the series, I expect to see a few surprises this weekend, especially in Friday's qualifying round. Hopefully, the Square D/Racing Team will be one of those teams."